13 votes
Accepted

角/毛 (10 cents) for money: why?

角 came from 銀角, which was historically a currency that represented a fraction of the silver coin (銀元). 元 came from 圓, a description of the coin's circular shape. A theory for 角's use is that since the ...
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  • 4,910
12 votes

“哩勒公蝦毀” what does this mean?

哩勒公蝦毀 This sentence refers to the pronunciation of "What did you say?" in Min-Nan 哩(ㄌㄧ): You 勒(ㄌㄟ): an auxiliary verb 公(ㄍㄨㄥ): say 蝦毀(ㄒㄧㄚ ㄏㄨㄟˇ): what 蛤?! This word equals to "Huh? Could you speak ...
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11 votes
Accepted

How to say "thank you for ..."?

Same as English just without the for. 谢谢 + what. "thank you for the gift" = 谢谢 + 礼物 - maybe you would say 你送给我的礼物 or just 你的礼物 "you for inviting me for dinner" = 谢谢 + 邀请 + 晚餐 - so altogether you ...
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  • 34k
10 votes

Is 得弄 one word or two in 首先得弄清楚我们需要什么?

得 : got to / must / have to ABC must / need / should be 弄清楚 : ABC make clear; figure out 得 is read děi when it means must/have to/need to. I would translate 首先得弄清楚我们需要什么。 as: We first need to ...
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  • 34k
10 votes
Accepted

How to say that you were accepted/rejected from a college in Mandarin?

reject: 拒绝, 驳回, 否决, 否认 Harvard rejected me. 哈佛拒绝了我。 哈佛大学拒绝了我的申请。 accept: 接受, 答应, 采纳, 采用, 接纳, 录取 Harvard accepted me. 哈佛录取了我。 哈佛录取我了。 哈佛大学接受了我的申请。
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  • 1,453
9 votes

Chinese equivalent of "I can honestly say..."

Below all are fine. (1)坦白說,... (2)老實說,... (3)坦白講,... (4)老實講,... (5)說[老]實話... (6)說真心話... (7)[我]打從心底說... (8)[我]敞開心房[向你]傾訴 (more literal, less colloquial) +我已經盡[全]力了 or +我已經做到最佳(表現,etc). If you are ...
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  • 461
9 votes
Accepted

Meaning of "不了" in "忘不了/喝不了/..."

了 here is read liǎo which means: to finish / to achieve / variant of 瞭|了 / to understand clearly -CC-CEDICT thus 不了 unable to / without end -CC-CEDICT 忘不了 = can't forget / unforgettable ...
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  • 34k
9 votes
Accepted

Difference between 元宵节 and 灯节?

元宵節 亦稱為上元節、小正月、元夕、小年或春燈節。 時間是每年的農曆正月十五。 佛教有在正月十五點燈供佛的習俗。 而道教中,上元節乃天官華誕,故燃燈以慶。 元:上元 (農曆正月十五,the 15th of the 1st lunar month) 宵:夜晚 (night, evening) 元宵:the evening of the 15th of the 1st lunar ...
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  • 5,846
9 votes
Accepted

Usage of 能骗就骗 (if you can cheat, then cheat)

能骗就骗 is a direct translation from a Cantonese expression "呃得就呃" (scam just because you can/ scam whenever you can) It is a negative remark on someone's behavior; There's no encouragement of swindling ...
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  • 67.4k
8 votes
Accepted

Why do people say "吃飽了嗎"

When asking a Chinese person "are you full" when eating a meal its like asking "are you enjoying your meal?" The host will be happy if he knows you are full. But when someone says 你吃飽了嗎? to you when ...
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  • 306
8 votes
Accepted

How to say "it is actually something that does something"?

The usage of 是 is correct. 是 ( shì ㄕˋ ) 〈动〉 (5) 表示肯定判断之词 [be] I think it is actually the idea that can really light up the future. 其实我觉得是主意点亮未来。 我觉得其实是主意点亮未来。 我觉得其实是主意才能真正点亮未来。 To emphasize ...
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  • 1,501
8 votes

Is it okay to ask 你的电话号码是什么?

I'd say all of your sentences are used in practice within the mainland. These are all correct expressions: 你的电话号码是什么? 你的电话号码是多少? 你的电话是多少? Colloquially, we even brief it like 你电话多少? or 电话多少? ...
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  • 23.2k
8 votes

In 很高兴认识你 is there an implied 我 at the front or is 很高兴 modifying 认识 as in "happily meet"?

很高兴认识你 is a general greeting, which is used when you meet a person for the first time. The literal translation is "Very glad to know you!". In practice, It's like saying "Nice to meet you!" in English....
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  • 23.2k
8 votes

Why is a "thing" called "东西" and not "南北"?

There were two large markets in ancient Chang'an (长安/長安) city of the Tang (唐) dynasty, one called east market (东市/東市) and the other one called west market (西市), gradually people perfer to say to buy ...
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  • 1,322
8 votes
Accepted

How do I express "I don’t envy you" properly in Chinese?

Maybe forget "envy": 幸亏我不是你。 Luckily, I am not you. or Rather you than me! (Not very consoling though!)
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  • 14.2k
7 votes

What are the common ice-breaker sentences in Chinese?

Here are a few ice-breaker sentences: 最近怎么样?(Literally "recently how"? = How've you been recently?) 最近好吗?(Literally recently good?) 最近忙什么?(Literally recently busy what? = What have you been busy ...
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7 votes

“哩勒公蝦毀” what does this mean?

This is a Taiwanese (Min-nan) utterance. pronunciation: “哩(li) 勒(le) 公(gong) 蝦毀(siann-hue)?” translation word by word: You are saying what-thing? There is a hot Disney movie song FROZEN - ...
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7 votes

Chinese of “No one will think you’re mute because you don’t speak”

The one comes to mind: 你不说话没人把你当哑巴。 你 can be omitted: 不说话没人把你当哑巴。
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7 votes

How old is the expression “老百姓”?

百姓: 释义:战国之前是对贵族的统称,战国之后,楚对平民的通称。《诗经·雅·天保》“群黎百姓”郑玄笺:“百姓,官族姓也。” 现今指平民,普通人。也称“老百姓”。 Before the Warring States period, it was a general term for nobles. After the Warring States period, Chu's ...
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  • 67.4k
6 votes

Chinese equivalent of "I can honestly say..."

For 'I can honestly say I did my best.': * [说实话]我已经尽力了 or * 我[真的]已经尽力了 ←probably the most colloquial one *
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  • 316
6 votes

“哩勒公蝦毀” what does this mean?

The meaning of "哩勒公蝦毀" (li lei gong xia hui) is "What are you talking about?". And "蛤?!" means "What?". In one orthography of Taiwanese, the phrase "哩勒公蝦毀" could be written as "汝咧講啥貨" (ru lie jiang ...
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  • 370
6 votes

The slang(?) phrase "乾掉了"

乾 and 幹 are both the traditional Chinese characters and can translated to a same simplified Chinese character 干. 幹掉了 is a slang means to kill or get rid of it. 乾掉了 just means something is vaporised ...
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  • 761
6 votes
Accepted

The slang(?) phrase "乾掉了"

I think is a slang in Taiwan 乾掉了 mean something is turning into boring(usually use after someone say a not funny joke) or the situation that people don't know what to say or react to it ex1: You ...
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  • 126
6 votes

Meaning of 所 in "有所..."

As you had said, 所 is not redundant. But to me, "有帮助" and "有所帮助" doesn't have that much differences, especially when you are in an oral conversation with Chinese people. As for your explanation for "...
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  • 169
6 votes

How to say "Oops"; or other exclamation/interjection you might say if you make a mistake

There is no exact equivalent of the English "oops" in Chinese. This is mostly because "oops" is a special English word, with an uncertain etymology but one theory is that it derives from "upsy-daisy"....
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  • 8,322
6 votes
Accepted

Do people still use 炒冷饭?

Yes, it's still used and a common phrase, which is used to express that an event or object does not contain something new/creative (a bit more than just rehash a dead conversation). You can search ...
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  • 339
6 votes

Which proverb / expression is original? -- 爱及屋乌, 爱乌及屋, 爱屋及乌

http://www.zdic.net/c/1/3/5022.htm 愛屋及烏 因愛一個人連帶的也愛護停留在他屋上的烏鴉。語本尚書大傳.卷三.牧誓.大戰篇:「愛人者,兼其屋上之烏。」後比喻愛一個人也連帶的關愛與他有關的人或物。明.許自昌.水滸記.第八齣:「他們都是你舅舅的相識,你何無愛屋及烏情?」隋唐演義.第八十七回:「楊妃平日愛這雪衣女,雖是那鸚鵡可愛可喜,然亦因是安祿山所獻,...
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  • 67.4k
6 votes
Accepted

Is there an expression in Chinese for saying "I'm taken"?

You can use 名花有主 to describe a third person 'being taken' in a romantic sense. For example: "他已经是名花有主" (he is already taken) Since it sounds arrogant to call oneself "名花" (quite ...
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  • 67.4k
6 votes

Selling it as soon as you've bought it — Chinese expression

The most common way you would say is 现学现卖 or 现炒现卖 However, the actual and original expression is 旋炒旋卖 if you read ancient Chinese novels. The character 旋 means right after. This expression is ...
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